Bin collections in Glasgow have come to a halt, leaving areas of the city littered with piles of rubbish as world leaders flock to the Scottish city for the start of Cop26.
Street cleaners and bin collectors walked out on strike at one minute past midnight on Monday following the collapse of talks between Glasgow City Council and the union on Sunday evening.
The planned strike was originally called off on Friday following a new pay offer from umbrella body Cosla, with suggestions that the strike would be suspended for two weeks.
However, following Sunday’s talks, the GMB said that strike action would take place.
GMB Scotland secretary Louise Gilmour said: “We met the council in good faith, offering a clear set of proposals to reset industrial relations and avoid strikes. The council rejected these proposals.”
Ms Gilmour added”Regrettably, the council refused this massive opportunity to move forward, and strike action across the cleansing service will now begin, during which time our members will be balloted on the Cosla pay offer.”
The union confirmed that its workers would take strike through the first full week of the international climate summit.
The GMB was calling for a £2,000 pay rise and had previously turned down an offer of an £850-a-year increase for staff earning up to £25,000.
The Cosla proposal which was suggested on Friday is for a one-year, 5.89 per cent increase for the lowest paid council staff. This comes as part of a £1,062 rise for all staff earning below £25,000.
The Scottish Government gave £30 million to support the offer.
A Glasgow City Council spokesman called the decision “very disappointing.”
They said on Sunday evening: “The agreement struck at national level gave two weeks to consider the pay offer and so there is no reason for this strike to go ahead at this time.
“It is very disappointing the GMB has opted for this course of action, which now seems to be about allocating time for meetings rather than a pay agreement.
“We will meet with the GMB at any time to try and resolve what now appears to be a local dispute.”
Scotland’s Transport and Net Zero Secretary, Michael Matheson explained: “It is disappointing, although the Scottish Government was not party to what is a national negotiation between local authorities and Cosla.
“My understanding was last Friday that the three unions - Unite, Unison and GMB - agreed to withdraw their industrial action in order to consider the offer that has been made by Cosla, which was assisted by additional funding from the Scottish Government.
“The GMB locally have entered into a dispute now with Glasgow City Council which I understand is not to do with the actual package itself but it’s the process around being able to engage with their members and discuss that with them.”
The Cop26 climate summit began in Glasgow on Sunday and will continue until 12 November.
A selection of images below show rubbish littered on the Glasgow streets:
Additional reporting by PA
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